VALIC recently completely overhauled its public and participant websites. The new sites bear little resemblance to their former versions and embody key trends that have emerged in the digital DC plan participant landscape over the last year, including the proliferation of responsive design as well as an increased focus on employee retirement readiness and overall financial wellness.
VALIC now provides fully responsive public and participant websites that present optimized browsing experiences across all types of devices. The responsive platform provides participants with one of the most comprehensive mobile browsing experiences among Corporate Insight’s Retirement Plan Monitor coverage group, offering mobile-optimized access to all of the account data, transactional capabilities and resources of the desktop site. However, VALIC is far from the only firm to recognize responsive design as a cost-efficient way to address the growing demand for retirement plan participant websites that function seamlessly regardless of device, browser or platform. Within the past year, four firms in the RPM coverage group have overhauled their participant sites, and two overhauled their public sites, incorporating responsive design throughout, while two firms incorporated responsive design into specific, strategic pages. As mobile devices proliferate and more users expect a website to transition across all of their devices without any disruption to viewing or functionality, we anticipate that the movement toward responsivity will only continue to grow.
Participant Site Homepage – Tablet and Phone Layouts
Along with the incorporation of responsive design, the other most significant improvement introduced with VALIC’s recent migration is the overhaul of educational resources. The new, comprehensive retirement readiness tool and educational content that covers important financial topics outside of the retirement sphere reflect the growing industry-wide focus on both retirement preparedness and financial wellness. The firm’s new participant site homepage, generally considered the most important page of a DC plan site, reflects the importance of these topics; it prominently displays retirement readiness information and provides multiple links to both the FutureFIT University sitelet and the Education Center. It also includes two sections that encourage participants to increase their contribution rates and two sections that encourage them to evaluate their investment mixes continually.
Over the course of the past 12 months, seven other firms have added retirement readiness figures directly to homepages, two also introduced new retirement readiness tools, and five made significant improvements to existing tools. In terms of overall financial wellness, six firms added new wellness tools, five added significant new financial wellness-focused content and two overhauled existing offerings. Clearly keeping with industry trends, VALIC is not alone in exploring this renewed focus.
FutureFIT University and Build a Diverse Portfolio Pages
VALIC’s public and participant sites have gone from outdated and uninformative to some of the most evolved and educational sites among the RPM coverage group. It is so important that participants have accurate perceptions of their retirement readiness and understand how preparing for retirement fits into the greater context of their overall financial lives. By making its sites easy to use on any device and providing participants with the resources they need to engage with plans and better understand their finances, VALIC is helping to build better financial futures.